In 2020, the Nashville Zoo will expand to become more inclusive for special needs kids. The Nashville nonprofit Thisbe & Noah — whose mission is “to improve lives by promoting research, awareness and support for children with neurological diseases” — is the brainchild of the project.

Thisbe & Noah’s Promise Park will be for children of all abilities and disabilities. The design aims to promote side-by-side play for all children.

“Since my children’s disease had them each bear dozens of different disabilities in one little body, I was able to navigate the design of the playground through their eyes,” says Laurian Scott, co-founder of Thisbe & Noah. “What we will create in Promise Park is the type of place where every child can find pockets of sheer delight and where each can ‘climb’ to the top of the treehouse, whether on wheels or legs. No child will be left at the bottom, wishing,” she adds.

A $2.1 million capital campaign is underway, and the playground’s groundbreaking (adjacent to the zoo’s Jungle Gym) is set for March 2020 with a May 2020 completion date.

Local kids of all ages can help raise funds for Promise Park by participating in the Piggy Promises program by hosting bake sales, lemonade stands and more — it’s a great way to encourage your kids’ sense of community spirit and service. On Sunday, Nov. 3 from 2:30 - p.m. there will be a Piggy Promises award celebration at Nashville Zoo, and local reality group WH Properties will match Piggy Promises up to $5,000. Awards will be given to the top fundraising kids. Even after the awards celebration, kids can continue to participate in Piggy Promises.

Thisbe & Noah and the Nashville Zoo are also partnering to grant up to 100 zoo memberships each year for children who have a disability due to a neurological condition. Applications will be available in early 2020 at thisbeandnoah.org.

To make a donation and follow the progress, visit promisepark.org.